July 29, 2005
Are we ready to battle with evil?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a book that leaves me with an impression that evil should be approached with purity of heart; friends, prepared, armed, and ready; and a focused driven attitude—even to the point of sacrifice.
Though what I love best about the books in the Harry Potter series are the endearing protagonists, delightful setting, and engaging plot, many times in the series, especially in the last three books, I have paused to think about the due diligence (or lack thereof) evident in my own life as I walk with the current of the Kingdom-Come flowing swiftly and surely in and around me.
Am I prepared for the seemingly fantastical battles ahead? Is my soul ready for the heart-wrenching decisions I will face? Despite the content of witchcraft and wizardry which some oppose (though they may not object to it in LOTR), I believe the service J.K. Rowling renders to her readers, young and old alike, is the comingling of innocence and guilt, lightheartedness and forboding, safety and danger, truth and lie, illumination and obfuscation interwoven in a context of fictional story, characters, and setting.
Though rendered in the realm of fantasy, does this not inform, if not warn us here in the Real World and in the Church that though it may be too heart-breaking to acknowlege, to difficult to comprehend, to frightening to ponder, we are, as with all creation, headed toward a new world, a new earth, yes, a new creation—a place of victory—only preluded by epic battles of war, death, torture, separation, fire, destruction, monsters and beasts, and creatures that we perceive to only exist in Faerie?
I believe that Rowling, along with many other writers of fiction and fantasy, can prepare the imagination for the truth revealed in the Word of God. To me, we seem too ill-prepared for the days ahead. I am thankful to the writers, filmmakers, and other creatives who create a bridge from Reality to Another Place, so that when we close the book, walk out of the theatre, or power off the DVD player, we can return to our World, perhaps more prepared, or at least inclined to get prepared for the "real" magnificent stories awaiting us in the days to come.
July 27, 2005
Kylia Praise: Year 1 Complete
Kylia's birthday was yesterday. She's now 1 year old! Amazing!! I haven't had time to upload all the images I took of her birthday party on Sunday yet, but here's a few to tide you over.
July 25, 2005
Flooding Crisis in Gujarat Worse than 2001 Earthquake
Last night at a East Indian gathering ("East Indian" as in people from anywhere on the subcontinent, not just people from eastern India; the term is meant to distinguish from Indians as in Native Americans or First Nations, etc.) I learned that the flooding I've been hearing about in India has created a more disasterous crisis in the state than the earthquake in 2001. The disaster is more widespread, leaving many more hundreds of thousands homeless and displaced. You can see here from this picture, taken in Gujarat in February of this year, how easily slums like this one could be washed away by flooding. Many homes, roads, churches and other building have been washed away. The expressways that we traveled on this year and last are gone, apparently.
I am going to try to get more personal information from our friends and partners in the region to post here. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in India who have been displaced and impacted by the flooding.
Article (AlertNet): Reuters AlertNet - ACT Alert: Monsoon Floods hit Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh, India
Kylia and Adalie Cool Off
On Sunday afternoon, we celebrated Kylia's birthday (she'll be 1 year old on July 26th). Dadoo inflated the whale pool and the girls were in and playing within 5 minutes of their arrival. Kylia was surprisingly agile in the water. She could even crawl in and out of the pool like little Nemo, when he was finding his way to the ocean from the dentist's office. More pictures to come. Seth was blocking the sun for Kylia, and she came out dark in most of the pool pictures I took. So I Photoshopped the darkness out as best I could so you could all see her beautiful happy face. Adalie, who will be 3 years old on September 4th, is in the background. Click on the picture for a larger image.
So on Sunday afternoon I was driving back from Tigard when I spotted this [intentionally] downed watertower! I was so excited (it was my first downed watertower, after all) that I got off 217 turned around and went back to Cascade Plaza to take some pictures. Here's my favorite:
July 23, 2005
Update: Cousin Deborah in Thailand with Dengue Fever
Update: My mom corrected me on the spelling of Dengue Fever. Apparently I was going with the phonetic version. ;-) But more importantly, Deborah is improving. Her platelet count is 47,000 and continues to head in the right direction. A platelet infusion is not planned as of this morning. (This is a good thing, thanks for praying!) Uncle Ken says that she's cracking some jokes and really wants to shower and brush her teeth—all good signs.
Please pray for my cousin Deborah who is in a hospital in Chiang-Mai, Thailand with dengue fever, which she caught in Burma. She has been in the hospital 6 days; apparently dengue fever usually lasts 7-10 days, so the next few days are important. Right now her platelet count is low (20,000—should be above 100,000) and on Monday (Sunday night, West Coast time), a determination will be made as to whether a platelet infusion is necessary. Her blood type is 0- and missionaries that are with her in Thailand are searching for donors on her behalf. Please pray with us for a miraculous increase in platelets in the next few days.
July 21, 2005
Rights for Dalit Christians?
In my very limited education on the human rights situation in India, I have been told that Dalit Christians are severely disadvantaged because they are ineligible for some of the social affirmative action programs that are designed and targeted for Dalits. So this news today is very interesting because it seems to be a major political milestone for Dalits, especially Dalits who are Christian because:
- it is a recognition by the judiciary of the widespread caste-based discrimination that persists despite its illegality;
- it recognizes and recommends political action to address the inequalities and discriminatory practices affecting these people;
- it recognizes that past political action to end caste-based discrimination has utterly failed.
I pulled a few interesting quotes from the article:
"It is also unfortunately the sad reality the converts from Hindu religion to other religions have carried their caste marks with them whether they belong to higher caste or lower caste.
"The result today is all the religious communities in India except Parsis, have an ingrained caste system prevalent in all spheres of life. We had assembled here to consider the special case of Dalit Christians who were similarly converted from Hindu religion to Christianity and carried with them the same disadvantages and disabilities and they are carrying them even today. They will disappear if at all, only when similar disabilities suffered by Dalits of other religions, namely Hindu, Sikhs and Neo Buddhist, will disappear."
"It is therefore necessary that the Christian Dalits are given the same benefits aids and advantages, facilities and opportunities as are given to Dalits of Hindus, Sikhs and Neo Buddhists on the basis of caste to which they belong before conversion and which they are carrying even today," Justice Sawant, Barrister Sona Khan and the Jury said.
Read the whole article if you have a few minutes. It's very interesting. Leah, chime in if you can with some insight on this. Link: Dalit Christians must get Scheduled Caste rights says the tribunal.
July 19, 2005
Entertained, Provoked to Think
Wonderfalls. A TV series that lasted only a few episodes on the network, but one whose story and characters I immediately loved. Twelve episodes or so were released on DVD which I checked out from the library this past weekend. Kind of a post-modernism and Gen-Y primer, funny, but also containing almost disturbingly authentic performances that brought almost a heart-breaking realism to the tale (despite the dominant presence of talking stuffed animals, figurines, and other man-made objects with faces). What provoked me, though, was much more personal than intellectual. Watching a show that got axed after 4 episodes is kind of stressful. I find myself thinking, how many episodes did they end up filming? Will the series end with closure and a good ending or will it be cut off prematurely and haunt me forever? And about two-thirds through the story the romantic happy ending freebie that I thought was a sure-thing was ripped out from under me, just as it was ripped out from under the character of Jaye. She cried. I cried. And it really made me think. How much am I taking for granted right now with regard to relationships? Do I think I'm entitled to some happy ending, free of charge, with little or no effort? I think I have been thinking that and seeing that scenario played out on the screen made my heart stop. I couldn't get to sleep until I "wrote myself out of the shock" at two o'clock in the morning.
Maybe laughing and crying in response to a TV show or a movie can be a good thing. In some really great and heart-wrenching instances, I think it gets my soul ready to learn something previously stubbornly refused.
July 15, 2005
Last night was my tutoring appointment with "Ruth". We didn't do so much tutoring as go to Fred Meyer, she armed with two $25 gift cards and a need for two very large packages of pull-ups.
I sat in front of Ruth's apartment for about 10 minutes waiting for her to come. Finally her roommate came by and I asked her if she was at her mom's. She was, so I walked over. There were a lot (by that I mean, A LOT) of people in her mom's apartment, so I took the opportunity to check out Famo and Isha's bed situation. They are in beds in their own bedroom, but the mattresses are old and smell moldy, in their words, they're "broken". (Ah, the language barrier.) There is a box spring and two twin mattresses that need replacing.
Found out last week that a woman from church who's daughter is my 4s class wants to get rid of her twin boxspring and two mattresses.
So yeah, that'll work.
No bunk bed needed after all. What they do need is one or two chest of drawers. Right now clothes are folded on top of a one-drawer nightstand. Not too useful. Some help that I will need this Sunday evening when I go over there to deliver the mattresses (if everything comes together, that is) is some help removing the old mattresses and an old lame-o desk that they received. (I guess they tried to put it in the dumpster but the manager caught them doing it. Oops.) I don't know what to do with old mattresses that stink. They need to be dumped. The desk can go to Goodwill. Any ideas for mattress dumping? And, anyone got a pickup truck and some muscles I could borrow Sunday evening?
But overall, things are settling down with Ruth. I'm not nearly as worked-up and worried about her as I used to be and she is starting to get some real support (financially and guidance-wise) from her dad, which I didn't even realize was there until a couple weeks ago. And I don't know where she got those two $25 gift cards for Fred Meyer, but she knew from our previous field-trip there a couple weeks ago, that it was a good place to get stuff like diapers. She's off food stamps now because she's getting steady and consistent hours from the hotel she's working at. So there are still struggles, but things are settling down a bit. It's a good thing.
Connection, Culture, and Video
I've been amazed at the opportunities I've had to meet East Indians in the metro area just because I have a very small happenstance reputation for being able to shoot video in a cross-cultural setting.
This week, I was invited to be a part of a small gathering of families from the Indian state of West Bengal in a home in Wilsonville. I had the best Indian food I've ever had, enjoyed the company and conversation of women from Beaverton, and listened to Bengali music being played on a keyboard, sung into a microphone (...the most beautiful vocals I've ever heard!), and picked on a guitar. Oh, and captured the night on video.
Wednesday, I visited the new Hindu temple located on the HBC (Hall Blvd. Connection) just north of 99w in Tigard (behind the KinderCare, weird, huh?) Got a tour of all the deities they've acquired thus far (the temple only opened on July 6th, a couple weeks ago). In the old temple, which is still a worship place but also a sort of ashram for people in the region to stay when they visit the temple, I witnessed a small group of devotees perform their worship ceremony. And yeah, I was invited to capture the whole thing on video. And capture it I did.
Tonight I hit Lake Oswego to capture some of the wealth and if not tonight, tomorrow, will get to a restaurant and hopefully get to meet an East Indian dance and music instructor.
So I meet and connect with people in my area from India, glimpse into a very complex culture, and refine some technical skills I don't get to use everyday, all because my brother showed me how to take decent shots with a consumer-quality mini-DV camcorder. Thanks, tall brother!
July 14, 2005
4th of July in Seattle Pictures Posted
Family members flocked to Seattle where we enjoyed the hospitality of newlyweds Brant and Jackie, a Sunday afternoon Mariners' game at Safeco Field, the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, and a spectacular fireworks show on Lake Union.
Update: now with captions! Who-hoo!
July 12, 2005
Shawn Cardwell has given me the opportunity to teach some classes through his Three Rivers Tutoring Company, now located in downtown Lake Oswego. Depending on registrations, I'll be teaching four classes on blogging. They are (taken straight from the Summer Schedule page on Three Rivers website)...
Intro to Blogging
In this session, you will learn all about a fast growing trend in Web publishing for the masses: weblogging or "blogging." We will cover the anatomy of a blog and common uses and purposes for blogs, all to help you decide if you want to leap into the blogging fray. If you've just started blogging using a free service such as Blogger, come learn more about it and the many other different options available in the blogging community. No prerequisite. All ages welcomed, including adults!
Blogging Software Overview
Get ready to dive into blogging. In this class, we will compare and contrast the many different blogging software and service options available, including free and fee-based choices. We will explore the publishing features and limitations of each service or software, enabling you to choose your blogging service wisely. Prerequisite: Intro to Blogging, avid reader of blogs, or Blogger user. All ages welcomed, including adults!
Blogging Software Focus: Intro to Movable Type
In this class, we will focus specifically on the popular Movable Type Web publishing platform. Not only is Movable Type used for personal and community blogs, but it drives content-rich sites such as About.com. We will cover the licensing agreement, learn how to create a new blog, choose a template, add authors and set permissions, set up category-based archiving, select appropriate general preferences, and navigate the administrative interface. Prerequisite: Blogging Software Overview or familiarity with Movable Type. All ages welcomed, including adults!
Behind the Scenes of Blogging: Making Sense of Templates
You've discovered (or learned) how easy it is to publish content on the Web through blogging. But now you want to break out of the default templates that everyone else is using and use your own unique creation. For that, you'll need this class to learn just enough HTML and CSS to be dangerous--in a good way. We will cover opening and altering templates in Blogger, TypePad, and Movable Type, deciphering and writing simple valid HTML and CSS enabling you to alter the look and feel of your blog's templates. Prerequisite: Blogging Software Focus: Intro to Movable Type or a beginner's level experience using Movable Type. All ages welcomed, including adults!
package of all 4 blogging classes
To register for any (or all!) of these classes, submit your information to Three Rivers Tutoring on the registration page. (You can just enter your name under "parent" info...this is primarily a tutoring company for school-age students.) You'll receive further instructions for payment as well as directions to the office via e-mail.
Support your local entrepreneurs!
July 01, 2005
Bunk Beds Needed for Famo and Isha
I had fun making this flyer (and learning Adobe's InDesign at the same time!) I'm making copies of this to distribute around church this Saturday. Clicking on the image opens up a PDF of the flyer. Please feel free to share with friends who might be able to help.
BC Ferries Incident Impacts Copper Island Volunteers
Just received this urgent prayer request from Jennifer Dudenhofer. Her husband, Jeff, is director of a summer camp for native youth on a small island in the Port Alberni inlet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The camp starts this next week, with volunteers arriving imminently. But, a BC Ferries boat ran aground yesterday causing delays in ferry service from the continent to Vancouver Island. I was a counselor at this camp a couple of years ago; this is a key ministry to native youth in the area.
Thanks to those of you who prayed for Jeff's travels up island. He did make it back early this afternoon, in time to make a previously scheduled meeting even on time!
We have an urgent prayer need. A BC Ferries boat crashed this morning in Vancouver. (BC Ferries is the transportation all our staff use to get from Vancouver to Vancouver Island). One camp staff member made it across before the back-up. However, my dad, a camp cook, and the boiler from Portand, are stuck somewhere in the line-up. Please pray they make it in tonight, as the first SeaHaven (mission boat) run from Port Alberni to Copper Island with camp staff and stuff is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) morning. Also, please pray for the rest of the camp staff members traveling by ferry on Saturday, that the delays would be removed by then. This is the Canada Day holiday weekend (equivalent to our July 4) so travel was crowded as it was without this major delay.
Thanks for praying!
Here's an exerpt of a BC Ferries news release of the incident:
QUEEN OF OAK BAY LOSES POWER AND RUNS AGROUND Horseshoe Bay — At approximately 10:10 a.m. today, the Queen of Oak Bay, which sails between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay, ran aground while coming into Horseshoe Bay. The vessel drifted into Sewell’s Marina, damaging several boats. Preliminary reports are that the vessel lost power. An investigation is currently underway. Emergency and regulatory authorities have been contacted. No injuries have been reported at this time.
... There will be delays at Horseshoe Bay terminal. Customers travelling between Vancouver Island and the mainland are advised to choose the Duke Point-Tsawwassen route. More information on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay schedule will be provided as soon as possible.